Merck Foundation recounts support to African countries

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MERCK Foundation chief executive officer Dr. Rasha Kelej says the foundation has contributed significantly towards transforming and reshaping the landscape of the public healthcare sector in Africa.

He said working with African first ladies, ministries of health and medical societies the foundation have advanced patient care in 42 African countries.

Dr Kelej explained that together with a high level panel of 13 first ladies from across Africa, interventions will be defined to break the stigma around infertility in general and infertile women as well as support girl education as ambassadors of ‘Merck Foundation More Than a Mother’ campaign.

She said this at the 8th Merck Foundation Africa/Asia luminary and celebration of the 4th anniversary of Merck Foundation hosted by
Zambia virtually and attended by 42 countries and over 30,000 participants.

Dr. Kelej added that strategies will be discussed during the 8th Merck Africa and Asia luminary on how to build healthcare capacity, respond to COVID-19 pandemic and provide necessary training to establish a strong platform for experts in many important and critical specialties in their respective countries in collaboration with Ministries of Health.

And Zambian President Edgar Lungu has urged first ladies in Africa who are actively involved with the Merck Foundation to continue prioritizing human capital development through various capacity building programmes aimed at supporting the work of the ministries of health in respective countries.

President Lungu has also urged African leaders to focus on building healthcare capacities and train more healthcare providers in various specialties to keep the African population healthy and productive as the population is almost reaching 1.4 billion people.

He appreciated Merck Foundation and stated that he was impressed with the foundation’s smart strategy and flawless execution aimed at
advancing capacity of the country’s healthcare by providing critical and undeserved specialty training for local doctors across the country
which has led to ensuring equitable and quality healthcare to the Zambian people.

“I believe that stronger political commitment, purposeful and strategic partnerships are key to improving health outcomes and the wellbeing of all people in the world, especially in Africa,” said President Lungu.

He further hoped that during the three days of deliberations, the meetings will provide scientific and social educational programmes for Africa’s health care needs with special focus on disease prevention, early detection and treatment.

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